Central Valley Fire Department looks to make personnel changes
When Ron Lindroth signed on to be Central Valley Fire Chief he did so with the understanding he'd conduct a thorough analysis of the state of the fire district for the district board of trustees.
"We got a great history here. Very strong volunteers throughout this organization, strong volunteer commitment throughout all of Gallatin County with our firefighters and that's a great asset to our community," says Lindroth.
But he says, as the community grows, it reaches a point where volunteers aren't able to keep up with the call volume. That's why Chief Lindroth wants to make some changes he says are necessary as growth continues. Changes like adding an additional career firefighter position.
"That extra person then gives us three people per shift of career and then we'll have at least one volunteer. That gives us a minimum of a four person engine company to turn out. That meets our safety guidelines, federal mandates and so on. It's an effective fire company that can start doing intervention when they first get on scene," explains Lindroth.
With an extra position, Lindroth would hope to hire two new career, EMT firefighters. He wants to also eliminate the Assistant Fire Chief position and put that money towards covering costs of the new firefighters.
"But we gain two new firefighters in place so, that's boots on the ground at a fire scene," says District Board of Trustee Gilbert Moore.
District Board of Trustee Gilbert Moore says not everyone supports the plan, but says he's optimistic folks will see the change as he does- beneficial for everyone, especially residents in the district.
"One of my personal concerns as a trustee is to make sure that we properly handle the money of the taxpayers that are paying us so, I feel that his recommendations are well within that guideline," explains Moore.
But Moore says there will be an improvement in service and that's Lindroth's main concern.
"Having the ability to have quick response time is very important for the fire service. We're not in the business of same day service. Emergency services have to be quick and effective and this will give us a chance to get that minimum level set that way," says Lindroth.
Moore says they hope to take recommendations to the next district board of trustees meeting February 12th.
We talked to Chief Lindroth and Moore this evening. They told us they're still tying up loose ends and will finish coming up with recommendations at another meeting on Thursday.
It's at 4p at the Central Valley Fire Department Training Center next to the department on Main Street.